Rory MacDonald may have lost some fans with his taunting of the famed, popular fighter B.J. Penn at their UFC on Fox 5 bout, but it hardly matters. MacDonald's skills will carry him where the fans wont.
MacDonald is talented enough where he doesn't need fan support in order to get pushed into big fights. He got a fight against B.J. Penn on Fox when his fan support was tepid at best.
That fight was set up not because of MacDonald's popularity, but because of his raw fighting prowess and his ability to cause harm to another human being. The UFC knew they had a prospect that was going to be a force at welterweight for quite some time, so they had to unleash him, even if the fans had taken issues with him.
A rare talent like MacDonald (23 and already a monster—a monster who trains at the Tristar Gym with the likes of welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre) can't be ignored, even if the fans think he's a conceited jerk, a drab individual who lacks personality or what have you.
Fan support is overrated.
Fans don't need to support or love a fighter for that fighter to be successful. A fighter needs to be talented (in an entertaining way) to be successful.
Being successful like Jon Fitch wasn't enough because he put fans to sleep despite amassing a great record. (And, for his efforts, he was put on the undercard as soon as he lost a fight after his initial 8-0 streak in the UFC.)
But being successful like Rory MacDonald—a young stud who powers through the opposition almost as if he's insulted that he was matched up with someone so beneath him—is a ticket to MMA success no matter what the fans think. Even if they hate MacDonald, they'll still part with their cash for the slim, evanescent hope that he'll be brought down from Olympus.
Thus, the fans need Rory MacDonald more than he needs them. They can hate as much as they want; he's not going anywhere.
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